As reinstated by the Greenbook Blog, the market research industry is currently divided into two camps: the ‘early adopters’ who are sensing a great opportunity with mobile market research and the ‘traditional market researchers’ who predominantly see problems in new survey methods. However, mobile research is a further powerful means to an end and can contribute in many disciplines, not just as a competitor to the current methods but also as a member of the team.
It is a natural evolution of an industry that is plagued by a snail’s-pace of innovation. Just as online was resisted in its formative years, mobile has experienced the same neglect, but the tide has begun to turn. The benefits received from this multi-functional channel with increased utility, reach, speed, engagement and validation will transcend quantitative, qualitative and behavioural research.
The gap is widening between panel companies that do and do not use mobile to conduct research and data collection. Those that ‘do’ offer cost and time efficiencies that their competitors cannot match. Fast turnarounds from a responsive app-using sample mean their clients get more for the number of panellists they pay for: the sample to quota ratio is lower and fielding times are pleasingly short. They can also offer fresher, more interesting question types and response capture methods e.g. video and audio uploads, location tracking and passive metering.
Panel companies were once gauged by the size of their sample, but this asset is being gradually undermined by declining participation rates. The measure of a good panel company is shifting more towards the degree of engagement and participation from a sample, rather than the size of the pool from which a sample can be drawn. Without a mobile solution to stimulate that engagement, the researchers’ fight for a respondent’s attention will be lost soon.
For online researchers, the glory days of sky high results, large samples and low distribution costs are gone. Since the use of mobile devices has outstripped desktop devices, the industry has been forced to adapt to a new generation of mobile-centric consumers.
Both online and mobile research methodologies are superior to traditional methods due to their scale, provided organic user experience and data validation mechanisms are in place. But, how do they compete with each other? Twentify delivers a clear, concise comparison between the present and the future of market research:
The writing is on the wall, and mobile is not just here to stay, it’s here to transform an industry. It has the ability to re-connect researchers and consumers, proven by the dramatic increase in survey participation rates in recent years via mobile apps.
In addition, the future is likely to see mobile qualitative and behavioural functionality overtake traditional solutions, which will open the door for smarter insights thanks to some key differences from online:
If you’re a researcher that doesn’t have a mobile strategy for the future, it’s time to change that.